Nov 9, 2016 is the release day for "Falling Down". This is a contemporary m/m romance set in New Hampshire in the fall. As is my tradition, this is my release day "Desktop" post, where I share images that inspired the story.
Here's the blurb:
Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.
Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.
Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.
The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?
Josh, 18, is from Alabama. He's been living on the streets for three months, having left home after his mother died. Josh was extremely close to his mom, who was a single mother for most of Josh's life. Her sudden death left Josh emotionally traumatized and without any financial or emotional support. Not seeing an easy way off the streets, or any point in trying, Josh is planning to take his own life at the begining of the book. But then he meets Mark. Josh's exterior was inspired by Adam Driver. He's very thin but has a large frame and big features.
Mark, 24, is New Hampshire born and bred. The youngest of five boys, Mark grew up trying to emulate his macho older brothers and father and in denial about being gay. He went into the Marines to prove himself, but instead learns he can't stand combat and loathes everything about war. After being discharged , he questions his own courage and everything about himself. He's still in the closet to his family.
When I was looking for visual inspiration for Mark, the closest I found is Jeremy Renner.
Most of the story is set at Bigler's Pond in a fictional town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This photo was the inspiration for Bigler's pond, with its covered bridge and surrounding gold leaves in the fall.
The White Mountains
Josh decides to travel to New England to see the fall leaves since it was one of his mother's long-cherished dreams. He ends up in Gainsville, New Hampshire in the White Mountains. This is a fictional town but the area is based on Jackson, New Hampshire, pictured below.
I'm not even sure where the photo below was taken, but it still inspired me! I immersed myself in fall vibes to write this book.
Mrs. Fisher's house
Mark hires Josh to help him paint a huge old Victorian house with tons of gingerbread trim, like the house below.
Gregory Crewdson and Richard Tuschman
Josh has ambitions to be an artist (though he doesn't always admit it, even to himself). At one point in the book he thinks about a series of paintings that would have a similar feel to photos by these two photographers (whom I love).
The hike at Mount Chocorua
Mark takes Josh on a local hike. This is a real hike/location and I wish I was there!
I had some help with my rescue/medical scenes from Claire, who is an EMT in New Hampshire. Below is a photo I found online of an emergency tent of the sort the police in the area might carry.
Also, this extremely well-written article for Outside magazine gave me a lot of help researching hypothermia.
That's it for this desktop. Although "Falling Down" is one of the more angsty tales I've written, I tried to give it a melancholy sweetness. And of course there's an HEA!
This book will be on kindle unlimited for 90 days, then on all platforms.